Pulling out all the stops
After 13-hour days, long intensive weeks, and lots of hard work, employers are rewarding their workers with some of the kookiest, fun-filled corporate outings. And money seems to be no object despite the slowdown in today’s economy.
Companies don’t have to look far for agencies to take over and organize an entire day and sometimes an entire weekend of fun for their employees.
Whether it is a lobster bake on Martha’s Vineyard, a trip to Blue Man Group for the night or a dinner cruise on a 30-foot yacht, entertainment agencies are prepared to pull out the stops to fulfill requests.
David Goldstein of Comedy Theatre Productions has stopped at nothing to prepare outings for high tech companies such as Staples.com, Lucent Technologies Corp. and Nokia.
There are limousine scavenger hunts, theater-based games, fun-filled weekends in the Berkshires and spy schools.
Goldstein said nearly half of his customers are technology businesses who "work hard and need to play hard."
Staples.com has used Goldstein’s services twice, once for a limousine scavenger hunt and a second time for spy school where the company focused on team building activities.
"They do what spies do: decode messages, put bugs on other teams," Goldstein said. "It’s a whole game we facilitate."
Goldstein said many corporations want to reward employees or break the ice between departments within a company.
"They’ll say, ‘We work together,’ but the departments don’t know what each other does. When you are in cubicles, it’s easy to ignore others around you," Goldstein said.
He says that there are a lot of companies that recognize their employees’ hard work and they look for ways to reward them.
"These people are putting in the hours and looking for creative ways to entertain," he added.
Goldstein and his partner, Kevin Prentice, said they also provide customized murder mysteries. This is where the event takes on specific characteristics of the company going to the event, such as a software company office setting with developers and engineers as characters.
With so many technology customers, Goldstein said he and Kevin have developed two new games for high tech companies. One is human foosball, which involves an inflatable ball and humans tied to a rope.
The other is a scavenger hunt using global positioning system (GPS) devices which act as a high tech metal detector.
"It’s called ‘geo-caching’," he said.
While some companies may want murder mysteries, others are looking for someone to plan a day or an entire weekend from start to finish.
"Last year was our best year ever" Goldstein said."We’ll have to work a little harder for it this year."